It was a soaring message from Pope Francis on June 8, 2018 – the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
“It is not us who first loved God,” the Pope reminded the congregation, as reported by Vatican News: “It is He who loved us first.” God is like the almond blossom – the first to bloom in spring:
“God is like that: he is always first. He’s the first to wait for us, the first to love us, the first to help us.” And the Pope reminded listeners that God’s love has no limits and is something we can’t completely understand.
“It is a love that cannot be understood,” he said. “A love that surpasses all knowledge. It surpasses everything. The love of God is so great; a poet described it as a ‘bottomless sea without shores…’ This is the love that we must try to understand, the love that we receive.”
The Holy Father continued by pointing out that God doesn’t just manifest his love with words, but with acts – and they are not grand gestures, but small acts of tenderness and goodness.
“How does God manifest his love? With great works? No: He makes himself smaller and smaller with gestures of tenderness and goodness. He approaches His children and with his closeness He makes us understand the greatness of love” he said.
Of course, his greatest gesture was sending his own son to manifest in the flesh and die for the sins of mankind, the Pope concluded. He suggested our own works of mercy are a continuation of that love.